Tag Archives: Iraq

Migrants: Where to and where from

If you ever wondered why there is a better selection of tortillas in your local store or why getting good garam masala is suddenly much easier, the Pew Research Group has a quick way to look at immigration and emigration.

The Pew Group has a GREAT interactive graphic to look at immigrant and emigrant movements during the past 25 years at Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, from 1990-2015

Along with an interactive map, the Pew Group added a table so you can see with real numbers migration movement.

I’ll let the Pew Group explain what its wonderful graphic depicts:

The figures in this interactive feature refer to the total number (or cumulative “stocks”) of migrants living around the world as of 1990, 2000, 2010 or 2015 rather than to the annual rate of migration (or current “flows”) in a given year. Since migrants have both an origin and a destination, international migrants can be viewed from two directions – as an emigrant (leaving an origin country) or as an immigrant (entering a destination country).

According to the United Nations Population Division, an international migrant is someone who has been living for one year or longer in a country other than the one in which he or she was born. This means that many foreign workers and international students are counted as migrants. Additionally, the UN considers refugees and, in some cases, their descendants (such as Palestinians born in refugee camps outside of the Palestinian territories) to be international migrants. For the purposes of this interactive feature, estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants living in various countries also are included in the total counts. On the other hand, tourists, foreign-aid workers, temporary workers employed abroad for less than a year and overseas military personnel typically are not counted as migrants.

And for those wondering, the total number of migrants living in the United States in 2015 came from:

  1. Mexico – 12 million
  2. China – 2.1 million
  3. India – 1.9 million
  4. Philippines – 1.7 million
  5. Puerto Rico – 1.7 million
  6. Viet Nam – 1.3 million
  7. El Salvador – 1.2 million
  8. Cuba – 1.1 million
  9. South Korea – 1.1 million
  10. Dominican Republic – 940,000
  11. Guatemala – 880,000

Remember, this is the TOTAL number of people from these countries living in the United States, NOT the number arriving in 2015. And I would personally put the migration from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland as internal migration rather than international. (That is why I have a Top 11, rather than Top 10). Seems the United Nations has its own way of looking at these things.

And in case you are wondering, in 2015 there were 180,000 people from Iraqi living in the United States and 70,000 from Syria, both up from 40,000 each in 1990.

Local reporters can follow-up on this information for a local angle by using material from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For example, I know from the American FactFinder, there are a lot of Ethiopian restaurants in Fairfax County, Virginia (population 1.1 million) because Ethiopian immigrants are the largest African group in Fairfax – 6,000 out of 31,000 African native-born residents.

You can get good papusas because Salvadorans make up the largest single group of Latin American residents — 32,000 out of 102,000 from Latin America.

We all know Annandale, Va., is known as Little Seoul. Well, the Census numbers bear that out, of the 170,000 people born in Asia in Fairfax County, 30,000 are from Korea. But what should be evident to anyone paying attention, the Indian and Vietnamese presence is also big. Fairfax has 29,000 people who were born in Indian and 23,000 born in Vietnam.

Not to leave out Europe, but let’s face it, the numbers are weak compared to the rest of the world. Fairfax has 25,000 people born in Europe. The single largest group are the Germans with 3,600.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a foreign story, start in your own neighborhood.

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Filed under Connections, Immigration, Story Ideas

Iran and Cuba tops for exiled journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists released a study today about the number of journalists who are in exile because of the repressive nature of their home countries.

The CPJ survey was released  to mark World Refugee Day, June 20.

Given the number of refugees around the United States, it strikes me that this is a perfect hook for LOCAL news organizations to do stories about the LOCAL impact of refugees in their areas. But for now, let’s focus on the CPJ report.

About 70 journalists have been forced into exile because of repressive government policies. More than half of the exiles came from Iran and Cuba.

“I feel unstable because there is nothing for us here,” said Cuban reporter Victor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, 59, who served more than seven years in prison on baseless charges before being freed last September and forced into exile in Spain. There, he has experienced significant professional and economic challenges, a common experience among the 67 journalists forced into exile worldwide in the past 12 months. “We don’t even have our professional titles,” Arroyo Carmona said. “We live in limbo.”

The CPJ examined cases between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 1011. The organization only recorded cases it could document. In its statement June 20, the CPJ said other groups may use other criteria to come up with higher numbers of exiled journalists.

For its part, Iran topped the list of countries driving journalists into exile for the second consecutive year as the government continued an assault on free expression that began with the disputed 2009 election. CPJ’s 2010 survey found at least 29 Iranian editors, reporters, and photographers had fled into exile; the country’s total exodus over the last decade is 66, behind only Ethiopia and Somalia.

According to the CPJ study, the leading cause journalists fled their home countries was imprisonment or the threat being jailed. The survey only counted journalists who fled

  • because of work-related persecution,
  • who remained in exile for at least three months, and
  • whose current whereabouts and activities are known.

It does not include those who left their countries for professional or financial opportunities, who left due to general violence in society, or those targeted for non-journalism related activities, such as political activism.

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Filed under Connections, Harassment, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

Latest journalists killings: Brazil and Iraq

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, condemned the recent killings of journalists in Brazil and Iraq.

The dangers to journalists in Iraq go beyond just being caught in a war zone.  Iraqi television executive Taha Hameed was shot down with Iraqi human rights activist Abed Farhan Thiyab while driving in the south of Baghdad on 8 April.

Brazilian journalists face danger from exposing the cozy relationships between criminal elements and local governments.

The latest victim was radio and television journalist Luciano Leitão Pedrosa. He was known for his critical coverage of local authorities and criminal groups and received frequent threats. Pedrosa was shot in a restaurant in Vitória de Santo Antão in north-eastern Pernambuco state.

So far this year 14 journalists world wide have been killed because they were doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Reporters Without Borders puts the number at 16.

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Filed under Corruption, Killings

Of computers, corruption and free press

In cleaning up some articles I saved for reference, I came across one from the Sept. 25 New York Times — U.S. Gift for Iraqis Offers a Primer on Corruption.

Simply put the article looked at the theft of 8,000 computers from the United States  destined for school children in Iraq, most likely by government officials in Iraq.

I held on to the article for a few reasons, not the least was the corruption angle and the lackluster response of the U.S. embassy to the situation.

But for purposes here, the events laid out in the article provide another example of the importance of free and independent news media.

Author of the article Steven Lee Myers points out in the third to last graf:

Today’s Iraq may be corrupt, saddled with a bureaucracy from Saddam Hussein’s era that has changed little, and hobbled by a political impasse that has blocked the formation of a new government nearly seven months after parliamentary elections. But Iraqis — the media, politicians, average citizens — are freer than ever to denounce the wrongdoing of bureaucrats and thieves, even if to little effect.

It is that last sentence that tells the whole story of how to fight corruption. Freedom of press, speech and assembly are vital to keeping a government honest.

For now the Iraqis may be feeling that their complaints have “little effect” when it comes to corruption. But if the Iraqi media stand up against corruption by relentlessly investigating it and reporting it, then they might see some changes.

It really is no surprise that the 10 most repressive governments in the world are also among the list of top 10 corrupt governments. A free press is the best hope for people looking for accountability in their governments. And that is why dictators from Beijing to Tehran to Havana fear a free press.

See New corruption list out. Still a link between corruption and media suppression for more info.

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Filed under Censorship, Corruption, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

The killings continue: Young Iraqi journalist killed at home

One more journalist was added to the list of media workers killed in Iraq.

Mazin al-Baghdadi, a reporter and anchor for al-Mousiliyya TV in Mosul was killed when  gunmen in civilian clothing showed up at his home around 6 p.m. They identified themselves as intelligence officers.

When al-Baghdadi came out to to speak with the men, they shot him.

So far this year seven journalists and media workers have been killed, according to Reporters Without Borders. Iraq remains one of the most deadly countries for journalists.

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Iraq gov’t making life difficult for journalists

Good piece this morning on NPR Morning Edition on the new regulations the Iraqi government is forcing on journalists.

In Iraq, Getting The Story Gets Tougher For Reporters

The government office that oversees the press in Iraq is the Communication and Media Commission. It was set up by the U.S., just after the 2003 invasion.

The commission recently announced that all news organizations, both Iraqi and foreign, are now required to register, pay hefty licensing fees, and sign a pledge that they won’t ignite sectarian tensions or encourage terrorism.

To be honest, this should not be surprising.

The tradition of free media independent of government control is not something seen in that part of the world.

Earlier this year, the government proposed a series of rules that severely restrict journalists.

Among the proposal submitted in February, media organizations must submit lists of their employees to the government.

Forget the privacy concerns. Think about safety of the journalists. Of the 140 journalists killed in Iraq since 2003, at least 89 were targeted for murder, according the Committee to Protect Journalists. The CPJ showed that these journalists were targeted because of sectarian or work affiliations.

And in July the government proposed a special press court to deal with complaints against journalists.

The government — as noted in the NPR piece — also keeps reporters away from attacks sites.

It is not surprising that the Iraqi government is doing these things — traditions are hard to break — but what is upsetting is that the U.S. government is not speaking out more aggressively against these restrictions of the very freedoms that were supposed to have been brought to the Iraqi people with the fall of the dictatorship.

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Chavez moves to restrict media — again

Last week a Venezuelan court banned print media from publishing violent images. The court ordered all Venezuelan media to stop publishing “images, reports and publicity of any type that contain blood, guns, terrifying messages or physical attacks, images that incorporate warfare content and messages about killings and deaths that could upset the psychological well-being of children and adolescents.”  Officially the move is to protect children from harmful images. What really appears behind the move, however, is censoring items that are critical of the Chavez government.

The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement last week condemning the action.(Venezuelan censorship over morgue photos is selective)

The New York Times used the court order to look at the larger picture in Venezuela. In a Sunday story it pointing out that it is safer living in Baghdad or Mexico than in Venezuela.

In Iraq, a country with about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,644 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year, the number of murders climbed above 16,000.

Even Mexico’s infamous drug war has claimed fewer lives.

Needless to say Chavez was not happy that a Venezuelan newspaper — actually two newspapers — ran a graphic picture that showed the failings of his government. The government saw the use of a picture of bodies piled up at a morgue as part of a campaign against his government. The newspaper saw it as part of their job to inform the public.

The director of El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero made no bones about the purpose of the picture. He told CNN, “The editorial aim of the photo was to shock people so that in some way they react to the situation, since the government does nothing.”

No doubt the picture was shocking. The SPJ Code of Ethics calls for journalists to “Do No Harm.” part of the Code states journalists should “Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.”

The picture — as described — was no doubt hurtful to the families of the deceased and it most likely pandered to lurid curiosity. But that is no excuse for a government to engage in censorship.

Reporters Without Borders called the order “too broad and imprecise.”

Reuters reported on the ban — Venezuela bans papers from printing violent photos — on the 18th.

Venezuelan publishers denounced the court order as part of a concentrated attack on independent media outlets in the country.

In an editorial, El Nacional said:

<Google Translation>”The measure of censure issued by the regime of President Chávez against the independent press in Venezuela has ratified its totalitarian vocation and its decision to prevent criticism of the country’s social reality in all its dimensions and gravity, goes beyond the knowledge of the people.”

<Original Spanish text>”La medida de censura dictada por el régimen del presidente Chávez contra la prensa independiente de Venezuela ha ratificado su vocación totalitaria y su decisión de impedir que la crítica realidad social del país, en toda su dimensión y gravedad, trascienda al conocimiento del pueblo.”

Chavez has never been friendly to independent media. He has followed a totalitarian line on media policy that mirrors the policies of Fidel Castro and Adolf Hitler.

And he moves on many fronts.

Besides getting his rubber-stamp courts to hand down edicts, he is also using government funds to buy control of media outlets critical of his government.

According to a report from Reporters Without Borders over the weekend, the Venezuelan government is buying 48.5 percent of the ownership of Globovision and is heading for majority ownership of its stock.

President Hugo Chávez announced on 20 July that his government is about to acquire a majority stake in Globovisión, a privately-owned TV station that is very critical of his administration. By acquiring the shares of some of the station’s directors, the government says it will be able to control 48.5 per cent of its capital.

Federal Bank chairman Nelson Mezerhane stepped in last month at the government’s request and bought 20 per cent of Globovisión’s shares, plus another 5.8 per cent acquired through another company, Chávez revealed during a televised ceremony on 20 July. He also announced that the 20 per cent of shares owned by Luis Teófilo Núñez, one of the station’s founders, who died in 2007, would “pass to the state.” Chávez then did the sum: “25.8 per cent plus 20 per cent makes 48.5 per cent, amigo.” This was not an expropriation, he insisted. The government just wanted to “participate in this business.”

And I love that last line. The government just wants to “participate in this business.”

I would say that the years-long efforts by the Chavez government to close, intimidate and otherwise control media outlets in the country should mean that they have already been “participating” in the news business.

Just to be clear: Venezuela is the ONLY country in South America that is listed as NOT FREE by the Freedom House Press Freedom Report. And its only partner in the entire Western Hemisphere with this “honor” is Cuba, which has jailed more journalists than any other country in the world.

And if anyone was wondering what the impact of censorship has, Venezuela is only marginally less corrupt than Haiti, which means Venezuela is the second most corrupt country in the Western Hemisphere. In general, free media are a good way to keep track of corrupt officials. (Why do you think so many governments want to control the media?)

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Filed under Corruption, Harassment, Press Freedom, South America